A War-time Secret Police: Activities of the Geheime Feldpolizei on the Western Front During the First World War
Established in 1866, the Geheime Feldpolizei (GFP, i.e. secret field police) was responsible for the security of German armies during the First World War. It was engaged in counterintelligence, repression of sabotage and “political police” missions, including in the economic field. Headed on the Western Front by Feldpolizei-Direktor Maximilian Bauer, it progressively grew in power, became more complex and saw its staff numbers sharply increase. The GFP registered some important successes—such as the destruction of the French territorial intelligence service at the beginning of the war—and went on to dismantle many intelligence and resistance networks in the occupied territories. Yet despite the use of considerable resources and its own large network of secret agents, its fight against Allied espionage ultimately proved to be a failure.